Photo U.S. Food and Drug Administration
A file photo of various opioid cessation products.
This August 31, communities around the world will recognize International Overdose Awareness Day, an especially meaningful event as our nation continues to fight an epidemic of deaths from opioids and other substances. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Office of EMS joins in observing this day and acknowledging the important role that EMS clinicians and systems can have in preventing and mitigating the effects of substance use.
EMS and the Opioid Crisis
The opioid epidemic impacts EMS across the nation every day. EMS clinicians serve on the frontlines, responding to overdoses and related emergencies, often the first contact with the healthcare system for people struggling with addiction. EMS systems also collect vast amounts of data during these encounters that have been used by public health agencies and other organizations at local, state and national levels to inform efforts to reduce overdose deaths. This month, NHTSA debuted a new online resource on the opioid crisis on ems.gov, offering resources for the EMS community, its partners in public health, public safety and healthcare, and the public.
Earlier this year, after a thorough review of the published scientific literature, a group of experts created and published an evidence-based guideline for the administration of naloxone by EMS. The effort, led by the National Association of State EMS Officials, American College of Emergency Physicians and the National Association of EMS Physicians, is the latest step in a years-long commitment by NHTSA and our federal partners to improve the quality of EMS clinical care by supporting the creation of a process to develop, implement and evaluate evidence-based guidelines. The new naloxone EBG, along with other guidelines developed using this process, is available on the new EMS Evidence-Based Guidelines page on ems.gov.